Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) design and Accessible design are now formally linked via the inclusion of a range of Australian Standards for Access and Mobility, including AS1428.1 2009, into several sections of the SDA Design Standard Edition 1.1. These sections include car parking, ramps, door circulation spaces, and unisex accessible sanitary facilities.
As an introduction, during the initial rollout of SDA, designers utilised the SDA Price Guide to identify the mandated requirements of each of the four prescribed design categories (i.e. Improved Liveability, Fully Accessible, High Physical Support , and housing Australia (LHA) Design Guidelines (as well as other design criteria), which, whilst providing an increased level of access for users, did not provide a level of access suitable for the expected needs of NDIS participants requiring SDA on an on-going basis.
The SDA Design Standard has now been introduced which brings with it clearer and more user-appropriate design requirements, ensuring that truly accessible homes are available to NDIS participants eligible for SDA.
The SDA Design Standard sets out the requirements for the built form of well designed new SDA. The NDIA recognises that new build SDA projects will be currently underway and acknowledgment of these is important, so as to not disrupt the increase to the supply of SDA, therefore assessment of SDA against the SDA Price Guide remains until these projects are finished.
The SDA Design Standard implementation Plan sets out the timing and requirements in the lead up to the Design Standard taking full effect. The SDA Design Standard does not apply to dwellings seeking enrolment as Existing or Legacy SDA, noting that it is expected that all Existing and Legacy SDA will have been enrolled by 1 July 2021.
Qualified and accredited access consultants are among the few specified professionals eligible to become accredited SDA Assessors. Architecture & Access’ team incorporates these professionals and currently has multiple accredited SDA assessors.